People who think writing isn’t manual labor haven’t done any. It’s true you don’t use your legs or cardiovascular system the same way you would in some occupations, but the strain on your eyes, neck, back, and wrists more than makes up for it. Headaches, chronic fatigue, and carpal tunnel pain are just a few of the physical occupational hazards facing writers and other workers who type a lot. As a professional freelance writer, I’ve become more familiar with these writing-related ailments than I care to be. To help others in a similar situation, here are seven ways I’ve found to help reduce strain and fatigue when writing.
1. Create a Comfortable Workspace
First, create a comfortable workspace. Your workspace includes your desk, your screen, your keyboard and other input devices such as a mouse or digital pen, and your chair. Discomfort, strain, fatigue, and pain can result from placing any of these in awkward positions.
Position everything so that you can sit up straight with your screen at eye level, your hands placed comfortably, your back and hips comfortably supported, and your feet placed comfortably on the floor. Adjust the height, lateral positioning, and distance of the elements of your workspace to achieve this.
Avoid placing your screen so that you have to tilt your head or twist your neck to see it. Keep your keyboard and other input devices at a height where you can drape your hands comfortably over them rather than flexing your wrists and fingers up when you type or click. Keep your input devices at a distance where you don’t have to overextend your elbows to use them. Adjust the height and positioning of your chair to conform with these principles.
2. Sit Comfortably
Creating a comfortable workspace is a step towards sitting comfortably, which is another key to avoiding fatigue and strain while writing. Good posture will also help with sitting comfortably. Following a few important posture principles will provide you with solid structural support, minimizing strain and maximizing comfort.
When you sit down to write, keep your head up so that the center of your screen viewing area is at eye level. Keep your neck and spine straight by adjusting your shoulders so that they align vertically over your hips. Let your feet rest supported flat on the floor or a supporting surface.
Avoid posture problems by monitoring the positions of your head, neck, spine, shoulders, and hips. Don’t lean forward with your neck or trunk. Don’t let your head droop. Don’t slouch your shoulders. Don’t push your hips ahead of your upper body. Don’t let your feet dangle behind you or stretch them out ahead of your body.
3. Warm Up
Warming up before you type will help you avoid fatigue and repetitive motion strain. This is especially important if you tend to experience wrist stiffness when typing, but it’s a good practice in general to prevent stiffness and boost energy.
Spend a few minutes warming up your eyes, neck, shoulders, …